Your Body on Porn: A Timeline
For some pornography use is a normal part of every day. It’s a release from the stresses of the day or a fun activity to pass the time. For others pornography is a problem they can’t seem to get a grip on.
I don’t know what porn is for you dear reader, but I do know this: pornography is doing a lot more damage to your body than you think it is.
The following article is a timeline chronicling the effects of pornography on your body after watching if for a day, a week, a month, and a year. If you’ve never used or are just now starting to use pornography, take this article as a warning. If you’re someone who is already hooked on it, read through to the end because we have some good news for you.
After your First Day
Your first exposure to pornography brings out all kinds of new experiences. Your adrenaline spikes, dopamine (the chemicals in your brain that make you feel good) rises, and you feel an overwhelming need to physically respond to the images you’re seeing.4 A whole new world of women (or men as the case may be) is now at your fingertips, ready to provide you visual pleasure at your beck and call.
That’s really it. A sense of guilt or regret may follow your first viewing of pornography, but there’s a chance that you’ll walk away having enjoyed your experience. That’s what makes pornography so dangerous. It seems great at first, but the consequences soon catch up to the action.
After your First Week
Just a week ago you saw your first image of pornography. That turned into videos and now you’ve even started to form an opinion as to what girls/guys and genres of porn you like to watch. You start to notice that you’re feeling a little lethargic lately, but that doesn’t really bother you. You are bothered by many of your friends though. Stuff they always did that didn’t bother you is now starting to really grate on your nerves. Your patience with them is wearing thin and, some days, you’d really rather just not see them at all. You’d rather get back home to your computer screen where your true friends await.
Prolonged use of pornography, in addition to affecting your brain, affects your mood.2 The more you use it and masturbate to it, the more you become tired, lazy, and easily angered at others. From a chemical standpoint, your brain is starting to form connections with the people you’re viewing on your computer screen. This isn’t just entertainment anymore, it’s an investment. You need to see those women. At only a week in you’re starting to form attachments, and it only gets worse from here.
After your First Month
You’ve been experimenting with pornography for over a month now. The frequency in which you view it has increased and you find yourself craving that next moment you get to look at porn. In fact, you can’t wait to see her again. We’re not talking about any flesh and blood girl mind you. Real females don’t really do it for you anymore. They just can’t compare to what you get to experience every night in your room. Besides, the hassle of forming a relationship isn’t something you’re really interested in. You just want a release, and you don’t need a person for that.
It may sound a bit dramatic here, but the above paragraph contains a lot of truth. The chemicals in your brain expended through pornography usage cause you to emotionally attach yourself to the women/men you’re watching.4 As your attachment to these virtual men and women grows your need to attach to real life men and women decreases. In some instances relationships with those of the opposite sex are nearly impossible because your body is really only desiring sex at this point and real life bodies can’t measure up to the fantasies you watch every night.
After your First Year
You’ve now been around pornography for a year’s time. If you’re a single guy you’ve given up dating. Why do you need to date? All the women you could ever want are only a click away! If you’re married your wife is probably wondering why it’s been so long since you’ve been intimate together. She suspects that you have a porn addiction, but she’s never caught you. You don’t want to tell her of course, it’d be devastating. She wouldn’t be able to handle the fact that you don’t want to have sex with her anymore. It’s not that she isn’t attractive, she’s just not as attractive as the others you routinely see. Besides, one woman is so boring. You’re used to switching between tab after tab viewing multiple women in all sorts of different scenarios. The same old women you see day after day just isn’t enough anymore.
This lack of being able to be stimulated by a single woman is called the Coolidge Effect.4 To put it simply, your brain becomes so used to being stimulated by multiple sources that it can no longer be stimulated by one (in this case, the wife). Men who view pornography for a long time (before even the year mark) have lower testosterone and, often, erectile dysfunction.3 At this stage of porn usage the user has gone from still images, to videos of sex, to videos of increasingly niche fetish activities. Some users even physically act out by trying to find prostitutes to sleep with. In very serious situations some porn users go out and commit rape.
I’m not trying to scare anyone out of pornography usage, I’m just trying to show you what happens when you use porn for long periods of time. It beings to reshape your brain until all you can think about is porn. It becomes a drug that dictates your thoughts and actions. Your life becomes centered around getting that next high, a high that is harder and harder to come by. It is this high that causes men to go from innocent to deviant.
This timeline is pretty bleak, but there is some good news.
The Good News
It is possible to quit. It’s not easy, it’s not fun, but it is possible. There’s a positive timeline to all of this as well. Not that long after you quit looking at pornography you begin to have more energy, higher testosterone levels, more patience with others, more self-control, and more drive. Eventually things like erectile dysfunction subside. Eventually your brain will return to a sense of normalcy, though you will more than likely be able to recall mental images of the girls/guys you watched for a while. Most importantly, you will begin to start healing spiritually.
Pornography damages our lives, reshapes our brain, and damages the relationships we have with those we love. Some will say that the occasional amount of pornography viewing is not a big deal, but I want to advise you to stay away from the timeline entirely. You do not want to walk down the path of pornography addiction. If you already, the good news is that you can overcome, but you have to start talking about it.